Thursday, April 1, 2010

more thoughts from Susan and Stew

I love watching Khmer people buy off the street. The other day the blackened dry wood wagon came by ( they do a lot of cooking using this dried wood) and the lady across the street stopped the wagon. She walked over to this wagon and peered into it inspecting the wood, then motioned over her mother to come and take a look at the offerings, then got her grandfather ( I'm sure he has had a stoke ) to come over and give his advice as to the quality of the wood. After judging the wood to be O.K. she brought out a large plastic garbage can and proceeded to look carefully at each piece that the wood men tried to put into the garbage can. Finally, after much discussion she had the can loaded up. Now the wood man brings his scale out and puts the garbage can on it and decides,based on weight, how much the lady owes her. This will not do. She beckons toward her gate and out comes another person carrying a bathroom scale. The can is reweighed and at last money changes hands. Wait, wait we're not finished- out from the gate comes a large plastic bag and the whole process is repeated. All this time there is much loud discussion from all participants.

A bunch of us went to the beach. Brian ( founder of Ratanak ), Louise ( his wife ), Ian and Andrew ( Brian's kids ), Paul, Sotheary, Alan, Anika( our landlords and family ( Sotheary is Ratanak's Cambodia Director), Debbie, Laura, Susan and I (Canadian Ratanak Reps.). While there we saw good things and bad things. The accommodation, food and beach were great. What was not so great was some of the tourists we observed. One man from Canada ( about 55 or 60 ) was squiring around a much younger Khmer man, holding hands, etc. Another man ( about 60 or 65) was with a young Khmer girl staying at the same hotel as we were. She was probably in her late teens or early 20's. This is typical at this beach area.

Laura, the Canadian Rep. from Calgary was born in Vietnam and lived there until she was 7 years old. She had a great time reliving some of her Vietnam type experiences.She bought a cocoanut from a street vender, had sugar cane juice, ate a mangostein and ate real Vietnamese yogurt. She also had a few flashbacks as we passed Khmer schools. One thing she really wanted was to have noodle soup- didn't happen. Then 3 days after she left Cambodia Sotheary, Susan, Andrew ( our grandson) and I went to an authentic Vietnamese restaurant and had 3 bowls of noodle soup- too bad you missed it Laura!

Debbie, from Saskatoon took 100's, no 1000's of pictures.

I took a picture of a sign advertising a professional of some type. Take a look at it, would you vouch for this individuals honesty??

All in all Susan and I have had a good time showing new Ratanak reps the projects in Cambodia. Melissa, the Ratanak office manager from Vancouver, arrives with her husband today. They will be here until next friday and then we are off to Hanoi and surrounding areas with Paul and Sotheary and family and Andrew. Hopefully we can blog one more time after we get back from Vietnam ( April 17 ).

Stew and Susan

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